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Cider Tour 2013

February 19, 2013

I am planning a cider tour this year. I don’t know when but I want to visit 5-10 cideries in the Willamette Valley. My goal is to find out what kind of apples they are using and where they get them from. I would like to start my own apple orchard to supply local cideries. After some reading most brewers agree that mixing apples produces the best cider. Selecting different apples based on varying qualities help round out the cider for the best taste. I would like to grow one or more popular varieties.

On my starter list is all the Oregon cideries listed here: I will make some email inquiries to determine the short list. I am hoping to find some willing to share what kinds of apples they use.

My interest started a couple years ago when Tonya and I visited three cideries near Port Townsend, Wa. We were immediately hooked on the beverage but also loved the process of growing apples. I started my own “orchard” adventure last year by planting a few fruit trees in our backyard. We have 2 apple, 1 pear, and 1 peach tree. I am using a tiered espalier style along a south facing fence for the apple and pear trees. I am hoping for an apple or two this year.

I would love to expand the fruit tree operation and even get some land of my own. I have seen some impressive espalier orchards, including one at a cidery in Washington. This style allows for maximum output and keeps the trees healthy and productive much longer than a typical orchard. The low growing style also makes harvesting quick and easy. I am eying a few books to bolster my knowledge but I am also using some online forums and YouTube videos. I would love to get my own small cider press and even brew some hard cider.

Books: The Holistic Orchard, The Apple Grower

Forum: Home Brew Talk,

From internet searches I am starting a list of possible apple varietals. Here is a list of websites with information about cider apple trees:

I found this on Wikipedia:

“Normally, ciders are blended using juice from several apple cultivars to give the best results. There are few varieties that will make a good cider all by themselves, Golden Russet is one such variety, and is prized in both single variety and multi-variety blends of cider.

Three apple cultivars from England are ‘Kingston Black’, ‘Stoke Red’, and ‘Dymock Red’:

Famous American cider apple cultivars are Harrison Cider Apple, ‘Campfield’, Hewe’s Virginia Crab,[3] and Yates. The first two originated in Essex County, New Jersey before 1776.[4] The Hewe’s was grown from early 1700s and by Thomas Jefferson in his cider orchard.”


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